various artists – rockwiz duets

i do know i’m increasingly missing nights. in this case, it’s a kind of delayed milestone i’m not quite ready for. and tonight it made most sense to pick for huge diversity – rockwiz is an australian music show that manages an ideal model that rarely grows old. this album is a collection of musicians, always one man and one woman, who sing a cover song at the end of the show. the show’s house band performs the core of each song, and usually one or both of the performers takes on an additional instrument (most often guitars). in itself, conceptually, this approach introduces a lot of unknown dynamics that make the results unpredictable.

i want to love the first half more than i do, but the gems are in the second half. the first song is it takes two performed by jodi phillips and kim salmon. i love kim’s voice, as always, but the music never soars like i expect it to. that can be said for quite a few songs across the nineteen tracks.

then you get something fascinating like paul kelly singing thom yorke’s part in pj harvey’s song this mess we’re in. his quite coarse strine is complemented (i use the term lightly) by the quite annoying wavering tones of katy steele (whose brother is perhaps the creepiest person in the world of music). it still kinda works.

also worthy of watching/listening by simple search are the last three songs: stop draggin my heart around performed by tim rogers and rebecca barnard; jackson performed by vika bull and dave larkin (a very faithful rendering); and closer love hurts performed by tex perkins and deborah conway.

yet there is something here approaching accidental perfection. dan kelly, gorgeous humble man that he is, was paired with martha wainwright to sing a song i would never have recalled liking for any other reason – bryan ferry’s slave to love. dan could have crumbled under the pressure. he soared. more than any of his studio albums, this was the condensation of everything that makes him brilliant – his voice, his guitar, his modesty, even his humour in his looks. martha brought it too, and if you’ve not watched a single video to this point, make this it [below].

this is music made of memories and experiences.

we’re too young to reason, and too grown up to dream

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